Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ramses Wissa Wassef: Architect, Artist, and Humanist on Display at the Cairo Opera House

We are honored to invite you to an exhibition to celebrate the centennial of the late Egyptian architect, Ramses Wissa Wassef at the Palace of the Arts, Opera House Site, Gezirah, Zamalek from November 1 to November 11, 2012.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kraus-Mayerhof Offprint Indexes Available Online

The Kraus-Meyerhof Offprints digital collection includes indexes to journal articles, books chapters, and portions of larger works. Generally printed at the same time as the book or journal, offprints are printed for the author's use. The indexes from the Kraus-Meyerhof Offprints offer a comprehensive look at the articles and book chapters in the collection. Topics covered include Arabic literature, Islamic philosophy, Arab medicine, and Muslim scholarship.

Index of offprints related to the study of Islamic philosophy. Image courtesy of the American University in Cairo Rare Books and Special Collections Library.
The offprints were originally collected by Paul Kraus, an Arabist born in Praugue in 1904. Kraus was educated in Europe and spent several years in Cairo and the Middle East before his death in 1944. The collected offprints feature scholarship authored by German opthamologist, author, medical historian Max Meyerhof. Dr. Max, as he was referred to by patients, was born in 1874 and died in 1945 in Cairo where he helped establish medical care in Egypt.The indexes to the Kraus-Meyerhof Offprints Collection were compiled sometime during the time ranging from the 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Digital Collection Documents British Invasion of Egypt: Alexandria Bombardment of 1882 Photograph Album

The Alexandria Bombardment of 1882 Photograph Album digital collection was originally compiled by Italian photographer Luigi Fiorillo. This unique album documents the British naval attack on 'Urabi Pasha's nationalists, who revolted against Taufik Pasha, the Khedive of Egypt, from 1879 to 1882. Fiorillo’s fifty page album records damage to Alexandria's neighborhoods, particularly the harbor and the fortress district. The images trace the development of episode from the arrival of the British fleet to the destruction of the emerging downtown district. Further, the photographs show the artillery and forts used by the resistance. The album also features portraits of the key players in the bombardment, including 'Urabi Pasha, Khedive Taufik, Admiral Seymour, and Sir Wolseley.

Painting of the Bombardment of Alexandria, 1882. Image courtesy of the American University in Cairo Rare Books and Special Collections Library.


Fiorillo was active from the 1870s to the 1890s. Although his main studio was located in Alexandria, he is known to have traveled widely throughout Egypt and Africa. He is best known for this distinctive album.
View the entire album or browse individual images.

You may browse the collection by the following suggested topics:
  • Artillery
  • Forts & fortifications
  • Military officers
  • Revolutionaries
The Alexandria Bombardment of 1882 Photograph Album is available in the Rare Books and Special Collections Digital Library.

Monday, June 4, 2012

New Digital Collection Documents 19th Century Egypt

The Rare Books and Special Collections Library is pleased to announce the launch of the Underwood & Underwood Egypt Stereoviews digital collection. The collection includes 101 images of Egypt commissioned by the Underwood & Underwood publishing company in the 1890s.

Sphinx and pyramids at Giza.
 The photographs, originally sold as a boxed sets, document 19th century Egyptian culture and the history of travel in the Middle East. The wide geographic scope of its subjects spanning along the Nile River, the Suez Canal towns and the Egyptian deserts render a thorough introductory visual representation of Egypt as opposed to the contemporaneous amateur and subjectively compiled albums of its time.

Mosque of Muḩammad Alī exterior.
The collection is available in the Rare Books and Special Collections Digital Library. The Underwood & Underwood Egypt Stereoviews digital collection is not possible without the efforts of Ola Seif, Stephen Urgola, and Carolyn Runyon. Technical support for the digital library is provided by University Academic Computing Technologies.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Theses Available in DAR

The Spring 2012 theses are in! Check out more than 70 new theses submitted by our Spring 2012 graduate students in DAR. View a selection below:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Browse Options in DAR Repository Promote Discovery

This week, the Digital Archive and Research Repository, more commonly referred to as DAR, debuted 8 new browsing options. The additional browsing options offer researchers new ways to discover content. In addition to browsing by Communities and Collections, Author, Title, Issue Date, and Keyword, researchers may now discover resources using the following categories:
  1. Office
    Check out contributions from 45 different administrative offices and departments.
  2. Date
    Find relevant research based on the date the item was created or published.
  3. Department
    Browse theses, publications, research, and Arab Spring scholarship contributed by AUC students, faculty, and staff.
  4. Discipline
    Refine your search by 36 AUC disciplines.
  5. Course
    Find student research by the AUC course number.
  6. Format
    Browse different formats, including theses, interviews, and newsletters.
  7. Type
    Browse by item type: sound, moving image, etc.
  8. Language
    Check out our content in English and Arabic.
The new discovery tools would not have been possible without the efforts of personnel in University Academic Computing Technologies.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

University on the Square Collection Updates

Almost a year and a half after it's launch, the University on the Square: Documenting Egypt's 21st Century History project has been successful in collecting more than 4,000 photographs and over 300 videos. Moreover, oral historians in the Economic and Business History Research Center have conducted over 50 interviews with political activists, student demonstrators, and academics to capture a full picture of the January 25th Revolution. As they are processed and described, photos, videos, oral histories, and original artwork are made available in the Rare Books and Special Collections Digital Library. If you would like to donate material, visit the University on the Square Web site or try our Facebook app developed by University Academic Computing Technologies. The app allows you to donate entire Facebook albums to the project.

Child demonstrator standing on a tank
In addition to the contributions showcased in the Rare Books and Special Collections Digital Library, AUCians have contributed some of their own research. Students, faculty, and staff have added more than 80 papers, presentations, and publications related to the Egyptian Revolution and Arab Spring to the Digital Archive and Research Repository, more commonly known as DAR.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Exhibition Celebrates the Life of Egyptian Architect Ramses Wissa Wassef

Ramses Wissa Wassef the Architect and the Artist: An Exhibition of his Architectural and Artistic Legacy is on display in the Abdallah S. Jur’ah ‘65 Room of the Rare Books and Special Collection Library from February 16 to October 23, 2012

Richard Bartlett cutting the ribbon at the opening of Ramses Wissa Wassef the Architect and the Artist: An Exhibition of his Architectural and Artistic Legacy. Sophie Habib Gorgy, Ramses Wissa Wassef‘s wife, and family are visible to the right.
Courtesy of the Regional Architecture Collections, Rare Books and Special Collections Library, American University in Cairo
Regional Architecture Collections Conchita Añorve-Tschirgi explains the exhibit to onlookers.
Courtesy of the Regional Architecture Collections, Rare Books and Special Collections Library, American University in Cairo
View of the main hall of Ramses Wissa Wassef the Architect and the Artist: An Exhibition of his Architectural and Artistic Legacy, including a bust of the architect and his various works.
Courtesy of the Regional Architecture Collections, Rare Books and Special Collections Library, American University in Cairo

About the Architect

A brief note about this remarkable architect and his collection at Rare Books and Special Collection Library - American University in Cairo: Ramses Wissa Wassef was born on November 11, 1911 in Cairo-Egypt into a Coptic family. His family’s interest in arts, crafts and architecture influenced him deeply, encouraging his appreciation of beauty and harmony. Later on, his passion for sculpture was boosted through the influence of Habib Gorgi, father of his wife Shophie, whom he married in 1948. 
Portrait Ramses Wissa Wassef, undated.
Courtesy of the Regional Architecture Collections, Rare Books and Special Collections Library, American University in Cairo
In 1935 he received his credentials as an architect at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris ranking first among his class for his graduation project: “A Potter’s House in Old Cairo”. This project reflected his lifelong interest in reviving ancient Egyptian arts and crafts. Years later, his dream became a reality when he established the wide-world renowned Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Center in Harraniyah: http://www.wissawassef.com/ He died in 1974 at a relatively young age. In the years since his death, his wife, two daughters and their families have perpetuated his legacy promoting his tapestry, batik, ceramic work, and his architectural legacy, which was donated to the Rare Books and Special Collections Library (Regional Architecture Collections) at AUC where his intellectual legacy is preserved.

How can I learn more?

Check out the Guide to the Ramses Wissa Wassef Personal Papers Collection, 1935-1969 in the AUC Libraries Catalog or view the Ramses Wissa Wassef Architectural Drawings digital collection.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Digital Collection Celebrates Egyptian Architect's 100th Birthday

The Rare Books and Special Collections Library is pleased to announce the launch of the Ramses Wissa Wassef Architectural Drawings collection in the Rare Books and Special Collections Digital Library. This collection documents the career of one of Egypt's most prominent 20th century architects. In celebration of the architect's centennial birthday, the collection is part of an ongoing effort to digitize and describe more than 800 architectural plans and drawings related to over 60 villas, schools, churches, banks, and apartment buildings designed by Wissa Wassef between 1935 and 1972.

Potter's House in Old Cairo perspective drawing, 1935
 Ramses Wissa Wassef (1911-1974) was an architect, artisan, artist, and teacher whose ideas and work exercised a significant influence on 20th century Egyptian arts and architecture. Some of Ramses Wissa Wassef's more notable projects, located in and around Cairo, Egypt, include the Mahmoud Mokhtar Museum, the Habib Gorgi Museum, the Mar Girgis (St. George) Coptic Church in Heliopolis, and the Coptic Church of the Virgin Mary (Mar'ashli Street Church) in Zamalek. He also designed a number of private residences around Cairo.
The Creating a Center for Architectural Archives in Egypt: Preservation and Access for the Papers of Hassan Fathy and Ramses Wissa Wassef project was made possible with funding from Grants to Preserve and Create Access to Humanities Collections of the National Endowment for the Humanities.